Inspirational journey of Josh Danza | inside World Soccer

Inspirational journey of Josh Danza

[Sunday, January 27, 2013 ]

Here is a guest post from a professional footballer, Josh Danza, who hopes that his story can inspire people to chase their dreams. Here is his story.

Almost three years ago, back in February of 2010, I decided that I needed to make a change in my life.

Josh Danza signes his first professional contract
Photo: @JoshDanza
I had a high paying government job, was going to school full-time, getting good grades, and had a girlfriend that I was really serious with.

But I wasn't happy. In fact, I was completely miserable. I had everything that everyone else wanted for me, but felt like something big in my life was missing.

When I was a kid I dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player, but never pursued it.

In February of 2010, I was 20 years old and in the 2nd semester of my sophomore year at a local Division III school in Baltimore called Stevenson University.

I wondered what would happen if I began to chase my dream this late in life.

I had always taken soccer very seriously, but wondered if it was too late.

I spent an entire day writing down the positives and negatives of dropping everything in my life to pursue a career in professional soccer. The negatives overly outweighed the positives.

But I still entertained the idea. I grabbed my school notebook and wrote down a list of lofty goals for myself to accomplish.

The first goal was to become a professional soccer player. That, above all, was #1 on my list.

The other goals I listed below were secondary, but I felt that achieving these would lead to my number one goal.

Personal achievements on this list included "All-American" and "D-III National Champion".

I ended up deciding that it wasn't worth the risk and put my stuff away and went to bed.

The very next morning, something happened that drastically changed my personal life. I was devastated.

I subsequently packed up everything I owned and lived out of my car for months.

On that day in February of 2010, I decided that I would do absolutely whatever it took to become a professional soccer player.

The road began. My number one focus was soccer. Nothing else really mattered anymore.

I began training every day. I tried out for a semi-pro team in the NPSL in March of 2010 that my friend had just signed with, and I made the team.

I started off sitting the bench for the team, but eventually became a starter.

At the end of the season I quit my government job to prepare for and focus on the upcoming fall 2010 college season.

At the beginning of the season I barely played. Rather than getting frustrated, I worked even harder and won a starting spot in the middle of the season and never let go. We went on to win the DIII ECAC South Championship.

I then tried out for a semi-pro team in the PDL, Real Maryland FC, in the winter of 2011 and was signed within the week.

I was surrounded by Division I players on my team and realized that I could hang with these guys. I felt that I belonged at the DI level. I won a starting spot and began getting DI looks.

When my senior year came around I was faced with a decision - to play my senior year at DIII Stevenson University or overload in credits to graduate early and spend the semester in search of a DI school to play my last year of college soccer.

Well I sure didn't win any friends with my decision to sit out my senior year and take 22 credits to graduate, but it all worked out for the best.

I graduated a semester early in December of 2011 and began Graduate School at nearby DI Towson University in January of 2012.

I spent the spring semester with the team and played every minute of every spring game on our way to an undefeated spring. Everything started to make sense.

I was invited to spend the summer of 2012 with a professional team called the Atlanta Silverbacks. I played in Reserve Team matches in the NPSL in order to keep my NCAA eligibility.

In May of 2012 I was called up to the Puerto Rico Men's National Team. I returned to Real Maryland at the end of the summer and went on to make the PDL playoffs. I went on to play in the NPSL All-Star game and was named to U.S. Soccer Report's PDL/NPSL Best XI.

Finally, I played my senior season in the Fall 2012 at Towson, but our season fell apart after finding out mid-season that our program was to be cut after the season.

As I'm writing this, I'm looking at my original list of goals i wrote down almost 3 years ago.

I was never an All-American, I never won a National Championship, and never accomplished most of my list.

But I don't have a single regret. I acted spontaneous, ended relationships, quit jobs, lived out of my car, was technically homeless for awhile, grew a beard, joined the track team for a semester, made new friends, traveled the United States, spent countless hours contacting teams, was homeless again, got stitches, healed from broken bones, overcame rejection, and learned that you can do ANYTHING you truly want in life.

Today, December 20, 2012, I made a new list of goals I want to accomplish in soccer and life.....because this evening, I signed my first professional soccer contract.

I thank God for this great opportunity in my life. I am truly blessed.

Thank you to all of my friends and family for pushing me and giving me all the support and love I need to succeed.

And finally, I especially thank all of those people who told me this wasn't possible and still doubt me to this day. You are the ones who fuel my desire and ambition. I love proving you wrong.

It's been a crazy few years, but this is just the beginning. I hope that my story can serve as inspiration to anyone who has ever had a dream, but is hesitant about pursuing it.

Please share this with your friends and family, and remember that it is never too late to change your life and do whatever it is that you truly want.

Please visit www.joshdanza.com to follow my life's journey and professional career.


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